In August of 2014, I walked into a room where I knew only a handful of people, desperately tried to pretend like I didn't work a wedding late the night before and then spend all day in the car to get there. As I stumbled my way over to the coffee cart, I wondered if I had made the right decision to come there that day. I had left behind an eighteen month old daughter, a wedding season that had been beautiful but brutal on my mind, heart and body, and a to do list two miles long for what was coming. I was drowning in the reality of motherhood and business ownership. I didn't remember what it felt like to not just be moving from the next demand of each day to the next, and living in survival mode. But here I was, in this ridiculously gorgeous setting in Jekyll Island, Georgia, attending, what I thought would be, if I'm honest, just a wedding vendor conference.
I thought there would be good things to learn, pretty things to see, fun flowers to play in (my dear friend/travel buddy/fellow coffee addict and I were going to do flowers for some of the events), good food to eat, and maybe, just maybe, I would justify the stress I was under, with some gained knowledge that would help me feel like I was still in the business and wasn't a total failure in this part of my world, let alone the "life" part, no matter how true that felt.
I think about five minutes into the very first speaker's talk (who happened to be the fab Rhiannon Bosse), I was all ready in tears. Here's an excerpt from my notes from that session:
"Businesses functioning in chaos keeps from working with purpose... Clarity leads to purposeful opportunities, which leads to better judgement, which leads to better time management, which leads to strong boundaries... You are NOT a 24 hour a day business, and if you are, you are not going to be happy."
I was floored. Someone knew my pain and was sharing theirs. But not only were they sharing truth with me and making me feel just a little less crazy, they were going to impart their hard earned wisdom with me with practical steps to try and apply what they were sharing. This wasn't just another wedding conference. Cultivate Retreat was all ready, in the first five minutes, what creator and founder Cassie Cherneski promoted it to be: "an experience that allows you to withdraw, focus, [and] get clarity." (source) It became an opportunity to intentionally press in to the life of my business. To see that I was drowning, and life as I knew it, personally and professionally couldn't go on like this. It was time to cultivate, work, and unearth what had to go in order for me, the business owner, to survive, and make room for some new and amazing things to grow.
One month from today, I will be joining a group of wedding professionals in the mountains of North Carolina for Cultivate 2016. Cassie and her team have an incredible speaker team lined up, in a gorgeous setting at the Historic Old Edwards Inn! I am going with eager anticipation, ready to dive in and make room for more cultivating in my life and in my business. While I'm there, I will also have the great privilege of leading a breakout session that ultimately will serve as an incredible full circle moment for me. I am going to share a lot of the insights that I have gleaned and gathered (and am honestly still working out!) since those special days at Cultivate 2014 about work- life balance and heart-care. I'm so excited I can hardly sit still!
Are you signed up to go to Cultivate? If so, let's connect! I would love to meet you! If you are not signed up, the formal registration has closed. BUT! (You read that right, there's a but!) I have it under good authority that if there is someone who was waiting and held out just a little too long, if you reach out hello(at)cultivateretreat(dot)come and state your case... there may be one special spot left just for you! Don't wait. Its going to be an amazing week, and I would so love to sit under the shady trees of the Appalachian Mountains and have a cup of coffee with you as we even attempt to digest all the goodness that will come out of Cultivate 2016.